BEING A SPEECH DELIVERED BY MR. GOVERNOR, ARAKUNRIN OLUWAROTIMI ODUNAYO AKEREDOLU, SAN,AT THE PUBLIC LECTURE STATE DELIVERED BY PROFESSOR AKIN OYEBODE TO MARK THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADMINISTRATION AND A RECEPTION FOR ONDO STATE CONTINGENT TO THE 3RD NATIONAL YOUTH GAMES AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS ON MONDAY, 19TH FEBRUARY, 2018 AT THE INTERNATIONAL EVENTS CENTRE, DOME, AKURE
I stand before this distinguished audience, this morning, overjoyed and, at the same time, conscious of the momentous occasion of today. First, I am highly elated to join this distinguished audience to listen to the mellifluous rendition from an outstanding scholar of international repute, the Professor of professors, our own erudite Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, Akin Oyebode.
I am sure most members of this august gathering share the same sentiment. It is a great honour having him join us to mark One Year anniversary of this Administration in the service of our people. There is little or nothing to add to what is already in the public domain concerning this exceptional patriot, committed academic, frank and truthful elder, whose unwavering principles stand as constant barometer with which the fluctuating moral temperature of the country is measured. We pray that he will continue to serve the country in good health.
I harbour no doubt, whatsoever, that the pronouncement of this sound academic today will, yet again, reverberate and add to the current discourse on the challenges we face as a people. We need the voices of elders and knowledgeable patriots, such as he, at this crucial moment in the socio-political history of this country. His abiding faith in the national project confirms his enviable position among dedicated patriots. His frank disposition to speak truth to power regardless of the degree of affinity, either religious, professional or ethnic makes his intervention resonate to the nooks and crannies of the country anytime he finds it necessary to contribute.
The second reason for our gathering, ladies and gentlemen, concerns the celebration of some of our young ones who made the State proud at both national and international sports competitions last year. We apologise for receiving them, formally, this late. We find ready excuse in the unimaginably busy business of governance. It is an understatement to state that we are proud of them and their peers on whose tender shoulders the redemptive burden of the State, nay, the country lies.
I am delighted, greatly, to receive you at this auspicious moment on behalf of the good people of this State. Being in your midst on this memorable occasion gives me great pleasure. I address you today, great Sports Ambassadors of Ondo State, to express our profound gratitude to you for projecting the uncommon virtues of our people at the 3rd National Youth Games which took place at Ilorin, Kwara State, between 7th and 17th September, 2017, and other International Competitions held last year.
The glory of this occasion does not necessarily lie in the number and quality of medals garnered at both national and international events presented here today. Laurels are motivational incentives awarded to encourage hard work, diligence, honesty and discipline. They are fitting adornments for dedication, perseverance and focus.
But of greater significance is the participation in the fiesta which promotes amity among peoples of diverse backgrounds. Being considered worthy to represent our dear State should be seen as a rare privilege. The display of exemplary conduct at events outside the State, synonymous with the enviable heritage bequeathed to us by our forebear, confirms your patriotism, for which we are proud. The laurels merely serve as evidence of talent, acuity and resilience. Participating in such events should be
4.considered as very significant as it is the highest mark of recognition. Consequently, those who are unable to return with medals are no less patriotic. It is enough that they are found worthy to represent the State.
Let me acknowledge the quality input of all the trainers, coaches and technical staff of our wonderful athletes which resulted in the brilliant performance at the Youth Games. It is always easy to sit back and watch scintillating entertainment from sportsmen and women. They bear the brunt of crude jokes and unappreciative abuses. They, most times, are left to cater for themselves. The discipline and rigour of their training schedules have brought us this glory for which we are immensely grateful.
I must confess that the news of your brilliant performance at the Youth Games was received with palpable excitement. It is no mean feat to finish 3rd on the medals table in a national competition. But considering the little period had for preparation, coupled with paucity of fund, our athletes deserve more accolades for being placed 3rdout of the 36 States of the Federation which participated in the Games.
It is also fitting and decent that I recognise and appreciate those of you who represented the State and Nigeria at the World Wrestling Championship in France, African Table Tennis Championship in Egypt and
African Weightlifting Championship in Uganda last year. I express the warmest felicitations to you on behalf of the good people of our dear State.
This Administration understands the role of sports in the development of the society. We are determined to encourage the youth of this State to participate in sports and other programmes designed to build capacity. Extremely conscious of the current financial difficulties through which the Government has had to operate, we shall, nevertheless, commence the construction of the Ondo State International Stadium which has been abandoned for a long time. We are also planning to complete the Golf Course at Atonsin-Idanre. Again, it is our hope to ensure that sporting facilities are readily available in schools, institutions and at our various neighbourhoods.
The purpose of all these huge investments is to engage our youth and encourage them to take part in sporting competitions to create means of livelihood as well as discourage them from participating in acts detrimental to them and the society. We are also acutely aware of the position of sports in the global economy. Sports has become a big business which requires huge financial outlay. Consequently, real success can only be
achieved through consistent and constant partnership with the private sector.
This Administration will continue to encourage sponsorship of sporting activities by multi-national corporation, groups and spirited individuals in the State. For us to fully succeed in harnessing the full potential of our youth in sports, there is need for private sector participation in the funding of sports and competitions.
I receive you, most warmly, on behalf of the people of the State. This reception only cannot represent the recognition of your worth by an appreciative people. Take this as a token and be assured of our highest regard for this exemplary feat and what it represents to us. We have always been convinced of the ability of our young ones to excel in any endeavour. We are aware of the near-limitless capacity of our youth to explore, discover and assert themselves anywhere and at any time. It becomes, therefore, incumbent on us to create the enabling environment to encourage excellence among our youth.
I must not fail to acknowledge the sterling performance of our students at various competitions. Our State enjoys the privilege of an enviable pedigree in the field of education. It is, however, regrettable that serious attention, devoid of ostentatious hypocrisy dictated by prebendal politics, continues to elude the sector.
It is in the light of this deplorable situation that our Administration set sail to recapture the essence of capacity building last year. We will promote excellence among our youth. We will provide an enabling environment for their training. We will celebrate them where and when necessary. We have started on this arduous but achievable task of reconstruction. We will not rest until the final victory is won.
May I seek your permission to recognize our students who have performed creditably at various levels. The expectation of restoration of the vanishing glory brought by education in our State rests on these young ones. Ladies and gentlemen, join me in congratulating these achievers as I call them out.
1. Balogun Boluwatife
2. Ayodele Blessing
3. Ayodele Oluwalayo
4. Owamoyo Evans
5. Aje Oluwasegun
6. Oloba Fiyinfoluwa
7. Ajayi Moyinoluwa
8. Adetola Isaac
9. Ajayi Promise O.
10. Fanibi Ayomide
11. Boyinbode John
12. Owamoyo Evans
13. Andrew Naiomi
14. Fadeni John (Teacher)
15. Akingbulugbe Oluwatobiloba
16. Ogunleye John
17. Gbolagade Selium
18. Adeyemi Solomon Abayomi
19. Chibueze Torchi
20. Akinsete Oluwafemi Solomon
21. Taylor Abubakar Olamilekan
22. Adeyanju Omotola Esther
23. Betiku Adekunle Temilola
24. Ikpeminoghena Laura Etse
25. Jacob Daniel Eyannojo
26. Adeyanju Omotola Esther
27. Olabomi Eniola Christianah
28. Taylor Abubakar Olamilekan
29. Akintoyinbo Favour Ayoola
30. Awofade Fisayo Tolulope
31. Olabimpe Ibironke Sandra
32. Fanibi Ayomide Emmanuel
33. Olarewaju Mercy Morolayo
34. Joshua Favour
35. Abiodun Damilola
36. Bello Abdulsallam
37. Oluwadare Elizabeth
May I, at this juncture, announce the following cash awards, tokens of appreciation, for the athletes and coaches:
Gold (Single) – 40,000.00
Gold (Team) – 30,000.00 per athlete
Silver (Single) – 30,000.00
Silver (Team) – 20,000.00 per athlete
Bronze (Single) – 20,000.00
Non – Medalist – 20,000.00 each
Official – 20,000.00 each
World Wrestling (France)
1. Odunayo Adekuoroye (Silver Medalist) – 250,000.00
￼2. John Emmanuel
Aminat Adeniyi ¼ Finalists – 100,000.00 each
3. Coach – Purity Akuh – 100,000.00
African Table Tennis Championship (Egypt)
1. Maiti Taiwo (Gold Medalist) – 100,000.00
2. Coach Dotun Omoniyi – 100,000.00
African Weightlifting Championship (Uganda)
1. Fatimah Yusuf (Gold Medalist) – 100,000.00
2. Coach – Mathias Sunday – 100,000.00
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to at this point reaffirm the determination and commitment of this Administration to continually appreciate and reward excellence at all times and equally advise you to run away from steroids in other performance-enhancing drugs which are capable of truncating your careers, prematurely. I, therefore, charge you all not to rest on your laurels but always do your best in all future sporting engagements. You should all endeavour to exhibit the highest standard of discipline at all times, as this should be the watchword of all sportsmen and sportswomen.
Once again, I congratulate you on your achievements and also hope that the honour that is being done for you today will serve as a stimulant for better performance in future competitions.
Thank you and God bless.